Feeling Better After the Very First Stop
The first official stop of the tour was Steelhead fishing with Jeff Blood, a fly-fishing legend. Of all of the stops that I had planned, this was the one I was most nervous about. Not only was it my first time trying to prove myself in front of the camera, the steelhead were on their last leg of staying up in the river. I have never had great luck targeting those beautiful trout, however, Jeff’s expertise immediately showed and I caught my largest steelhead ever within the first 30 minutes of fishing.
It was in that moment that I knew the tour was going to be a success.
The first expert we fished with confidently put us on fish which comforted my fears of failing to catch our targeted species on trips down the road. The next three stops, Rocky Fork, OH, St. Louis, and Kentucky were all about gaining confidence and figuring out the format that we liked for the videos.
Turning another corner
Our 5th stop, the South Holston River, was a game changer for the tour. We were scheduled to target Brown Trout with Brady Carter, a young guide who had just come back from guide school out West. I am an absolute sucker for trout fishing.
There is something about them and the locations that they are found in that intrigue me more than any other species. You have to take in the smallest of environmental indicators to properly fish for them. They could be eating such a specific color or size of aquatic insect… but when you find the right one, the fish tell you immediately.
We floated 4 miles with only one fish until we found what they were chewing on and then caught 5 beautiful Brown Trout from one spot while anchored down. The episode came together so perfectly and I believe this was a turning point for the tour.
From that moment forward, we weren’t just two guys in a car traveling and fishing, we became “tour host” and “cameraman” traveling in the Anglr Tour Jeep working with experts to deliver as much fishing intelligence and eye-candy at each location as possible.
Hitting our stride
We got into a pretty smooth routine during the remainder of the tour. Wake up around 4-5am to get ready for the day of fishing, fish from 6am-5pm, get back to the hotel, upload our days footage, go to bed as early as possible, wake up and drive to the next location to fall asleep as soon as possible so we could do it all again the next day.
I had planned it so traveling days followed fishing days for the most part to make sure that we could properly go about filming and uploading each day.
This wasn’t the case for the whole tour however. After working our way to Florida, we had a 5-day stretch where we had to fish, upload, and drive to a new location each day. We came out of those five days pretty tired but the relax day that I incorporated helped us get back on our feet.
There was one other sleep-deprived point of the tour, Martha’s Vineyard. Brian McCarty of Major League Surf Casting hosted us for two days on the island and I can confidently say that the guys at Martha’s Vineyard fish harder than anyone in the country. We fished 24 hours straight, something that I have never done before but I am proud to say that we completed that challenge with only one misshape.
I hooked myself through the hand with a striper still attached to the second hook.
After completing the tour, I feel as though I came out with more knowledge about fishing than most people will get in years.
When you get to spend that much time with people who are some of the best at what they do, you pick up on little tips and tricks that change the way you fish.
Three types of water, three big lessons
We fished three main types of water throughout our time on the Tour: inshore, nearshore, and offshore. With each of those types of water, came extremely important learning curves and lessons.
I learned the most about inshore fishing during my time on Lake Fork in Texas. Eric Faucett, an avid tournament fisherman, taught me two new techniques that I have known about but havent had any experience with.
The first was the Carolina Rig. This is a super simple slow dragging presentation that he taught me how to tie and work. It does a great job at targeting lazy bottom hugging bass while also helping your learn the bottom contours through feel as your weight drags in front of your plastic.
The second technique he taught me was utilizing large spoons. I had seen vertical spoon jigging but Eric had me cast a 5 inch spoon out as far as I could after graphic a school of fish and taught me how to properly work it by pumping it up and then letting it flutter.
My second cast with a 5 inch spoon on Lake Fork landed me a solid 4-5 pound largemouth and I am now hooked on that technique
I learned the importance of slicks on the surface of the water and found new ways to rig baits and effectively fish saltwater plastics. This lesson was taught to me by Captain Cliff Baxter, a charter guide in Galveston, Texas.
As we looked out over the semi-calm water, he pointed out subtle smooth patches on the surface and explained that these are areas where fish have been feeding that released fish oils onto the surface and was a visible sign that fish are in the immediate area.
Using this technique we were able to limit out on Spotted Seatrout within 2 hours of fishing
I learned the importance of studying your graphs on the boat and how to properly fight different species of fish. During my time in New Smyrna with Capt. Josh Baker of Fishbehavin, we went out 25 miles offshore to sit overtop a wreck that he had previously marked on his graph.
Throughout the day we would bounce from wreck to wreck that he had marked on his graph and caught fish at each locations. However, as soon as your boat drifts off that structure, you are out of the strike zone and likely won’t get bit so paying attention to your graphs offshore is everything.
Without constantly watching the graphs, I never would have gotten the chance to hook and land this monster Barracuda!
Ending the ANGLR Tour
Thinking back on our entire time on the tour, I am most surprised by how smoothly everything went. We never missed a day of fishing due to weather or cancellation. I think that the tour was also a testament to the fishing community’s passion for helping others.
Everyone that we went out with was happy to share their information to give me the best chance to put me on the fish that I had dreamed of, and for that I am forever thankful to everyone who participated in the tour.